In a case involving an NUS shuttle bus driver and the editor of the now defunct publication, The Real Singapore, Shin Min Daily News has allegedly painted the editor as the aggressor. The editor, Yang Kaiheng, took to Facebook to take the publication of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to task, and also to explain what happened.
It should be noted that SPH recently apologised and monetarily compensated Mr Yang for a false report on him (see this: http://bit.ly/1XzCDsS).
We republish the editor’s Facebook post here:
“It has come to our attention that our company director, Mr Yang Kaiheng, has again become the target of false and defamatory content published by Singapore Press Holdings.
In the Thursday 17th March edition, Shin Min Daily News featured on their newspaper front page an article defaming Mr Yang. The article and accompanying headlines accused Mr Yang of “turning violent and kicking a bus captain”. shouting and causing trouble “again”.
The article quotes an unidentified source to make completely baseless accusations that twisted the story portraying Mr Yang as a violent, aggressive man.
The article was also posted on the Shin Min online portal and shared on the Shin Min Facebook Page where it gathered numerous hateful comments all directed at Mr Yang.
We understand that the article in question has now been removed from their Facebook page and online portal but the print edition was already circulated.
The whole article has been twisted to falsely accuse Mr Yang, who was actually a victim in the incident, as being a random aggressor.
It is clear from the content of the article that the unnamed source is the bus driver involved. It is understood that the driver is under suspension as a result of the incident. It is puzzling why the journalist has reported this man’s words as facts when he obviously raises many red flags and has a grudge against Mr Yang.
The bus driver clearly read the recent coverage about The Real Singapore and had a negative impression and some form of background knowledge of Mr Yang. (Mr Yang will be disputing in court on why he is not involved in the editorial publishing of TRS)
Here’s what really happened:
Mr Yang and Ms Takagi boarded the NUS shuttle bus from Prince George Park Terminal after attending to some business matters at the Takagi Ramen outlet at the food court there.
After boarding the bus, the bus driver started glaring at the two and started shouting something incomprehensible. At first, the couple did not take note as they were unsure what was happening and did not even know who the driver was shouting at.
A short while later, while stopped at the traffic light just outside NUS, the driver turned around in his seat, and looked directly at Mr Yang and Ms Takagi who were seated in the middle of the bus, just behind the rear door. The driver continued shouting but again, the couple were unable to make out what he was saying as he had a thick northern China accent and spoke very quickly.
Mr Yang called back at the driver and explained that he couldn’t hear him clearly and asked what he wanted. The driver continued to shout but it was still unclear what he was shouting about. When Mr Yang failed to respond to the driver, the driver suddenly became very aggressive, left his seat and stomped aggressively towards the passengers, still shouting incomprehensibly.
The bus driver stormed right up to Mr Yang and Ms Takagi and started pointing his finger directly at Mr Yang’s face. His finger was brushing Mr Yang’s nose and he raised his voice further.
Frustrated at the driver’s hostility and aggressive attitude and still not sure what the driver was shouting about, Mr Yang and Ms Takagi shouted back and asked him why he couldn’t just calmly explain what the problem was.
They attempted to explain to him that they couldn’t understand what he was saying as he was shouting very fast, but the driver was already not interested to listen.
He continued shouting and several unpleasant words were exchanged. During the exchange, the driver continued to point his finger right in Mr Yang’s face, scolding him. When Mr Yang attempted to move the driver’s finger away from his nose, the man got more aggressive and started to punch Mr Yang’s chest and grabbed and twisted his finger when Mr Yang attempted to defend himself.
In the scuffle, while still seated, Mr Yang put up his foot to create some more distance between himself and the driver. At that point, the driver was actually leaning over and pressing against Ms Takagi to get at Mr Yang. The driver then proceeded to remove Mr Yang’s slipper and used it to slap him on the arms repeatedly before slapping the chairs.
After a short while, he calmed down slightly and went back to his seat at the front. Mr Yang then proceeded to call the police to report the assault which had taken place.
Police and a supervisor from Comfort Delgro arrived at the scene shortly after and took statements and retrieved the CCTV footage from the bus.
The police concluded that it was a case of voluntarily causing hurt and advised Mr Yang that, as the victim, he could press charges against the driver if he wanted to. Mr Yang later decided that it was not necessary as he did not want to blow up the issue and felt that perhaps the driver was just having a bad day or maybe he had been influenced by the recent negative publicity of him.
Despite no official charges being pressed by Mr Yang, Comfort Delgro has decided to take action against the driver and suspend him following a review of the CCTV footage and their internal investigations into the case.
Even the police first responders confirmed that Mr Yang was indeed the victim in the case and left it up to him whether or not he wished to press charges.
It is highly disappointing that our company director has again been openly defamed by the local media. When the journalist originally reached out to Mr Yang and Ms Takagi for comment, she was already alerted to the fact that the couple have become the victims of several instances of false and defamatory articles being published. The journalist was told that the couple did not wish to blow up the incident and therefore did not wish to comment, however she then proceeded to publish this defamatory article anyway without verifying the details of the incident from either the Police or Comfort Delgro whom both have already concluded their investigations.
We understand that Mr Yang is currently seeking legal advice from his lawyer on the matter.
If the driver was simply an innocent “victim” of Mr Yang’s “random aggression” as suggested by Shin Min, why was he suspended by his company?”
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